FIELD AND SPACE ROBOTICS LABORATORY

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

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Robust High-Speed Unmanned Ground Vehicles

Principal Investigator

Steven Dubowsky

Group Members

Dr. Karl Iagnemma, Research Scientist
Martin Udengaard, PhD student

Overview

Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) can perform many tasks that are dangerous for manned vehicles, such as reconnaissance and patrol in a hostile environment.  The mean time between failure of current UGVs is often prohibitively low, disallowing their use in high priority real world situations.  The development of a robust system would allow for longer mission times with little to no human intervention.  High speed would allow the vehicle to perform more useful missions.

Objectives

  • Design a robust vehicle that can complete its mission despite rough terrain or collisions
  • Development of a robust control algorithm that can continue operation after sensor failures
  • Development of a vehicle that can operate at high speed through varied terrain

Project Description

Sensors on a UGV have a limited viewpoint and often have trouble identifying certain obstacles (most notably trenches).  Adding an additional viewpoint on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could greatly increase the UGV's awareness of its surroundings and facilitate the planning of a safe, fast, and efficient path.  Shared data between the UAV and UGV would allow for the detection and compensation of sensor failures, thus making the system more robust.  The UGV itself must be able to travel at high speed and must be resilient enough to survive ballistic motion and collisions.


Rendition of a UGV traversing rough terrain under the guidance of a UAV

Sponsors

US Army Research Office

 

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